Shawn Mayer talks about her 'Nashville Star' finalist experience
By Christopher Rocchio, 08/06/2008
Heading into Nashville Star's sixth-season finale, Shawn Mayer felt like she was in good company with fellow finalists Gabe Garcia and Melissa Lawson.
"Right before the show we all sat down and we all looked at each other and we said, 'We're so happy that we got to share this whole experience with each other. It doesn't matter if we walk away with a title,'" Mayer told Reality TV World during a Tuesday conference call.
"I know I was telling Gabe that last night. It doesn't matter if we walk away with a title because in a way we've already won."
The 21-year-old from May City, IA who currently resides in Madison, TN subsequently finished third during Monday night's live finale, but reiterated the title of Nashville Star isn't what was important.
"We just had the largest showcase you could possibly ask for in front of the industry and in front of America, and we've gained so many fans, and we're so thankful for that," she told Reality TV World. "It's truly a stepping stone for our careers."
Mayer explained she doesn't think there was anything she or Garcia could have done to overtake Lawson as the sixth-season champ.
"She's got such a great story and she's such a strong woman. She really stands for a lot of people fighting for their dream and I think it was a great opportunity in her life," Mayer told reporters about Lawson, a mother of five young boys.
"She already pursued music once and kind of put it aside for awhile. And this was an opportunity for her to come back and really make it happen, and I'm so happy that she did. So I really think that it wasn't that America didn't see something in us. I think it was a lot of people really connected with her story and they just wanted to see it happen for her. And it just so happened that it did and I think we're both really grateful for it."
Mayer said she started the competition as "an extremely self-conscious person" and explained the "dark cloud" that Nashville Star sixth-season judge and mentor John Rich previously said he saw over her head.
"I couldn't look at myself in the mirror. I was constantly comparing myself to the other artists on the show going, 'They're all so good. I don't even know why I'm here,'" she said. "That was the dark cloud."
Making matters worse, Mayer said "I wasn't getting what I needed" from Rich as her mentor, which prompted her to ask to have Jeffrey Steele as her mentor.
"When I moved to Jeffrey, I got something a little bit different," she explained.
"But that whole situation, I believe, was handled so professional. I just walked in and pretty much told John respectfully, 'No disrespect to you, John, the way that you carry yourself and the way you communicate with people, it makes you John Rich. But the way I carry myself and the way I communicate with people is a whole different thing and it's what makes me me. And right now it's just not working out.' I really think that by standing up for myself I really gained a lot of respect from him. I wouldn't take any decision back."
The mentor switch also helped Mayer get out from under the dark cloud.
"Jeffrey pulled me off to the side too and he's like, 'If you concentrate on all the bad things you're going to create that dark cloud over your head,'" recalled Mayer, who added the support of home viewers also helped her pull out of her funk.
"It's one of those situations to where every week that I heard my name called and knowing that America was behind me, it made me that much more stronger to embrace myself as a person and to really see that there's something unique there that people really related to and embraced," she explained. "So I, in turn, need to embrace it. And so I just decided to come out a brand new person and I'm so thankful for it because I'm so much more happier now."
Despite the fact she didn't win, Mayer said she's "so much happier now" than she was before the competition.
"America really gave me the opportunity to truly love myself and I'm so grateful for that," she said. "I keep emphasizing it and I can't emphasize it enough is the fact that America really changed who I was and so did all the contestants here on the show. They truly showed me a lot of love and that I'm a great person, and that I'm beautiful in my own skin. And it really helped me embrace it."
Mayer said she's ready to get her career as a country artist rolling even though her Nashville Star journey just ended.
"Jeffrey pulled me off to the side and said, 'I know you're going to probably want to take a couple days to relax. But when you get done relaxing, make sure you give me a call,'" Mayer told reporters.
"The first thing that came right out of my mouth is I want no free time. I want to start working now because I really think we really need to keep the ball rolling, and so I plan on calling Jeffrey up and start writing, and start finding songs, and hopefully set up a showcase really soon."